Cats and dogs and the risk of atopy in childhood and adulthood
ABSTRACT Exposure to cats and dogs during childhood has been linked to a lower risk of developing allergies. It remains unclear whether this is due to selective avoidance of pets by families with a history of allergies. The effects of pet ownership in adulthood are unknown.
We sought to assess the association between cat and dog ownership in childhood and early adulthood and the development of atopy in a population-based birth cohort of 1037 subjects.
Ownership of cats or dogs between birth and age 9 years and between the ages of 18 and 32 years was reported. Skin prick tests to common allergens were performed at 13 and 32 years.
There was no evidence that families with a history of atopy avoided owning pets. There were significant cat-by-dog interactions for the development of atopy in both childhood and adulthood. Children who had owned both a cat and a dog were less likely to be atopic at age 13 years. Living with only one of these animals was not protective against atopy. Among those who were not atopic by age 13 years, having both a cat and a dog in adulthood was associated with a lower risk of new atopy by age 32 years. This association was only significant among those with a parental history of atopy. These effects were independent of a range of potential confounding factors.
There is a synergistic interaction between cat and dog exposure that is associated with a lower risk of developing atopy in childhood and young adulthood.
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ABSTRACT: Whether early pet-keeping is a risk factor for children’s asthma and allergies remains controversial. To investigate associations between asthma, allergies and airway symptoms among children and the indoor environment, a cross-sectional study was conducted in 5 districts of Shanghai. A number of 13335 questionnaires (response rate: 85.3%) of 4–6 year old children were analyzed. Families in urban areas have more pets except for dogs than families in suburbs. Fish are the most common pets in urban districts. The prevalence of doctor-diagnosed asthma was 10.3%, wheeze (ever) 28.3%, rhinitis (ever) 54.1%, doctor-diagnosed hay fever 12.6% and eczema (ever) 22.9%. In logistic regression analyses, early furred pet-keeping was positively associated with most of the symptoms and significantly with rhinitis (ever, adjusted OR=1.41, 95%CI=1.14–1.76) and doctor-diagnosed hay fever (1.38, 1.02–1.88). Current furred pet-keeping was significantly negatively associated with doctor-diagnosed asthma (0.57, 0.39–0.83). Persistent furred pet-keeping was significantly positively associated with rhinitis on pet or pollen exposure. However, current pet-keeping is not randomly distributed in the population. Children in families with “allergy” or with “pet avoidance behavior” (due to allergies in the family) have more symptoms, but have avoided cats and dogs, leading to the conclusion that such animals are “protective”, namely the “Healthy Pet-Keeping” effect. Moreover, rodents and birds are risks for children’s health. Fish-keeping is also seemingly a risk. This study indicates that early pet-keeping is a risk factor for asthma and allergies in families with a history of allergies, and part of residents in Shanghai have pet-avoidance behavior.Chinese Science Bulletin 12/2013; 58(34). DOI:10.1007/s11434-013-5679-4 · 1.37 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Staphylococcus aureus and other coagulase-positive staphylococci (CPS) colonize skin and mucous membrane sites and can cause skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs) in humans and animals. Factors modulating methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) colonization and infection in humans remain unclear, including the role of the greater microbial community and environmental factors such as contact with companion animals. In the context of a parent study evaluating the households of outpatients with community MRSA SSTI, the objectives of this study were 1) to characterize the microbiota that colonizes typical coagulase-positive Staphylococcus spp. carriage sites in humans and their companion pets, 2) to analyze associations between Staphylococcus infection and carriage and the composition and diversity of microbial communities, and 3) to analyze factors that influence sharing of microbiota between pets and humans. We enrolled 25 households containing 56 pets and 30 humans. Sampling locations were matched to anatomical sites cultured by the parent study for MRSA and other CPS. Bacterial microbiota were characterized by sequencing of 16S ribosomal RNA genes. Household membership was strongly associated with microbial communities, in both humans and pets. Pets were colonized with a greater relative abundance of Proteobacteria, whereas people were colonized with greater relative abundances of Firmicutes and Actinobacteria. We did not detect differences in microbiota associated with MRSA SSTI, or carriage of MRSA, S. aureus or CPS. Humans in households without pets were more similar to each other than humans in pet-owning households, suggesting that companion animals may play a role in microbial transfer. We examined changes in microbiota over a 3-month time period and found that pet staphylococcal carriage sites were more stable than human carriage sites. We characterized and identified patterns of microbiota sharing and stability between humans and companion animals. While we did not detect associations with MRSA SSTI, or carriage of MRSA, S. aureus or CPS in this small sample size, larger studies are warranted to fully explore how microbial communities may be associated with and contribute to MRSA and/or CPS colonization, infection, and recurrence.12/2015; 3(1):2. DOI:10.1186/s40168-014-0052-7
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ABSTRACT: The prevalence of allergy to furry animals has been increasing, and allergy to cats, dogs, or both is considered a major risk factor for the development of asthma and rhinitis. An important step forward in the diagnosis of allergy to furry animals has been made with the introduction of molecular-based allergy diagnostics. A workshop on furry animals was convened to provide an up-to-date assessment of our understanding of (1) the exposure and immune response to the major mammalian allergens, (2) the relationship of these responses (particularly those to specific proteins or components) to symptoms, and (3) the relevance of these specific antibody responses to current or future investigation of patients presenting with allergic diseases. In this review research results discussed at the workshop are presented, including the effect of concomitant exposures from other allergens or microorganisms, the significance of the community prevalence of furry animals, molecular-based allergy diagnostics, and a detailed discussion of cat and dog components.Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 10/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jaci.2014.08.026 · 11.25 Impact Factor